My husband and I love Hawaii! I’ve written about it several times in past blogs, so you know. So when we found out we had an opportunity to go to Puerto Rico on a business trip, we weren’t sure how it would it would stack up to our past experiences. But, now that we have been, I highly recommend it!
The highly rated El Conquistador, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is the best-known resort on the island. It is secluded and you will get a good feel for the poverty on the rest of the island on the drive from the airport to the resort. The El Conquistador is sprawled on a remote hillside on the northeast tip of Puerto Rico. Instead of having a beach outside your room, they have a private island with a beach for their guests. You board a ferry to get to the beach island. It does run fairly regularly, but they do wait until they have a full boat before departing so plan on a short wait. The ride to the island is enjoyable, almost like its’ own little expedition. The water is so blue; you won’t believe it’s real.
Once you arrive, there is a restaurant for meals, sand volleyball, Jet Ski rentals, and beach chairs. One cool thing about the island is that it is inhabited with Kimodo Dragons. I wouldn’t chase one, but they are fun to see lounging about!
Plan to spend the day, but make sure you allow plenty of time for the ferryboat back if you have evening plans. The last few ferries were very full and sometimes it took an hour or so to return to our room.
The private island is a beautiful place to spend your days, but there are also some expeditions I recommend you take off property. First is the Arecibo Observatory, the home of the world’s largest radio telescope. It’s been the scene for many movies including Jodie Foster’s Contact and James Bond’s GoldenEye. I learned a great deal visiting there at the Angel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center. It was very educational.
While in the same area, I also recommend the Rio Camuy Cave Park. Millions of years in the making, this below ground tour was amazing. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes, I fully embarrassed myself by falling on my rear end descending into the cave!
Another historic site to visit is El Morro, a Spanish fort located in old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Be sure to visit early as the temperatures do heat up there and hang onto your hat. It can be very windy! You’ll see gun turrets and prisons, especially appealing to the men in your group! (well, not the prisons!)
Be sure to grab some lunch and do some shopping in colorful old San Juan before you head back to your resort! Our meal was delicious and the shopping prices were appealing!
The final recommendation I have while in Puerto Rico is to enjoy a little nature. Visit El Yunque Rainforest. Climb the tower there. See the beautiful waterfalls. Take a canoe ride deep into the forest to view the dynoflagellates after dark. Simply beautiful!
So the next time you’re considering an island getaway, don’t just think of Hawaii. Consider Puerto Rico and let me help you plan a trip to this amazing U.S. territory.
I’m Jeri May and you can reach me at Jeri@TravelwiththeMagic.com.